Was Simon Peter the Fondation of the Church?
Joseph Francis Alward
One of the Catholic Church's most important beliefs rests in large part on Matthew's story about Jesus calling Simon Peter the "rock upon which I will build my church". We will present evidence that the "Matthew" who wrote this was not repeating the words of Jesus, but rather was rewriting history to provide what is now the sole basis of the Church's most presumptuous false pretense--its divine founding by Jesus Christ.
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| This essay is in part based on the work of Joseph
One day, Jesus met Simon and gave him the nickname "Cephas", which means "rock", or "petros" in Greek:
"And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone." (John 1:42)
Peter later accepts Jesus as the Christ, and a pleased Jesus blesses Simon. In a punning reference to Simon's nickname, Jesus says
"Thou art Peter (Petros), and upon this rock (petra) I will build my church,....and I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven". (Matthew 16:15-19).
As evidence that Jesus may not have spoken the pun elevating Peter to the head of his church, we may note that Matthew never again mentions the extremely important fact that Peter is the head of Jesus' church and heaven's gatekeeper. It is curious that Mark, who allegedly was Peter's companion and interpreter, reports Simon's confession, but not the crucial "rock and keys" speech by Jesus (Mark 8:27-33); if it had happened, he surely would have mentioned it.
similarly odd that Luke and the authors of the Gospel of John say nothing
about it, either. Even Simon Peter himself never mentions a word of it to
anyone. As Wheless points out, Paul says that he often defied Simon Peter: "I withstood him to
2:11) but in all their disputes, over matters of the faith and the fortunes
of the new "church", not a single one of the Apostles stepped forward to
put Paul in his proper place by pointing out that Simon Peter was Jesus'
hand-picked successor. Which is more likely: Matthew's rock and
keys passage is fictional, or this really happened, but Matthew was the only
one who knew about it?
It is doubtful that Jesus made Peter to the head of his church and awarded him the keys to the kingdom of heaven, because just before Jesus tells Simon he is giving him the keys to heaven, Matthew has Jesus implying that the reason he was awarding Simon Peter the keys was that Jesus' divinity was revealed to him by God: